COVID-19 Update

March 26, 2021
Categories: Wellness | Community Updates

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #63 | Dated: 3-26-21

Good Afternoon –

We are excited to follow up on our last communication regarding our plan to continue to unwind our policies and procedures tied to our response to the pandemic. This past week the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) adopted the guidance that was previously released by both the CDC and CMS. This updated guidance for Long Term Care Facilities can be found here.

Based on this updated guidance and due to our successful vaccination program, we are now able to adopt the least restrictive policies as articulated by the DPH for those who are fully vaccinated. That said, this is not a complete return to the pre-pandemic world but is a renewal of what helps make Sterling Estates a unique community.

These updated policies and procedures summarized below (and detailed further here), are meant to relax many of our current policies/procedures while still ensuring we do what we can to keep those most at risk safe. These updated policies put much of the responsibility now on you and your loved ones as opposed to squarely on Sterling Estates. With that, please find a summary of these updates below:  

  • Visitation Policies: We are moving from limited visitations to now supported visitations
    • Outdoor visits are still the preferred/safest visitation procedure
    • For those residents and their visitors who are fully vaccinated, visits can begin to take place in a resident’s apartment / cottage as opposed to our designated indoor meeting space. These visits will take place during our normal operating hours from 9am – 5pm, including weekends. We can only support visits during these hours at this time.
    • For those who are still unvaccinated, these visits will occur outdoors or in our designated indoor meeting area.
    • All visitors will continue to be screened prior to their visit; these screens will occur at our front desk in the Landmark building. Proof of full vaccination (e.g., CDC vaccination card) should be provided and all visitors will be required to sign in.
  • Off campus trips:
    • For vaccinated residents, non-essential or non-medical trips should be limited but are now possible. Families and loved ones of residents who would like to take their loved ones off campus should coordinate with the community.
    • For unvaccinated residents, off-site visits should continue to be limited to essential trips.
    • Sterling Estates will again offer off campus activities for our fully vaccinated residents. These will take place in appropriate settings: outside, small crowds and with the ability to maintain social distancing.
  • For our Independent Residents: ALL amenities are open starting Monday, March 29th
    • Residents will again be able to eat either lunch or dinner in our main dining room and will be able to participate in our group activities.
      • We will cohort our independent residents together during these activities.
    • The salon is open for appointments for all residents (following all DPH guidance)
    • The Wellness Center in the Landmark building is open for our independent residents from: 10:30 – 11:45am and 3:30 – 4:30pm each day.
    • Along with these gym hours our independent residents are still able to use our therapeutic pool and starting March 29th the locker rooms as well.

 We couldn’t be more excited to have many of you back in our community. That said, if we do experience an outbreak of the virus or the situation changes in Cobb County, we will again have to review our policies and procedures and will likely be forced to return to our more limited posture.

Also, if you have yet to be fully vaccinated, we are planning on hosting an additional vaccine clinic at Sterling Estates of West Cobb on April 9th. If you are interested in this clinic, please complete the survey found here.

We are looking forward to “turning the page” with each of you to this new and more vibrant chapter at Sterling Estates!

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #62 | Dated: 3-12-21

Good Afternoon –

We have been looking forward to writing this letter for quite some time…sure you’re aware that the CDC and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) have started to update their guidance for those who are fully vaccinated as well as for Long Term Care (LTC) Communities. These policy updates are major milestones, marking the fact that the tide of this pandemic has officially turned, and we are well on our way towards better days. The theme of the updates from both of these organizations is now that there has been such a high degree of vaccine adoption within communities like Sterling Estates and the fact that the vaccine is proving to be so highly effective in keeping people safe, we can begin to ease many of the restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic came onto the scene a year ago.

  • CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals can be found here
  • CMS’ updated guidance on visitation can be found here

What does this mean for Sterling Estates?

In general, this updated guidance is just catching up with what we have been doing in our communities for months. Due to our track record of helping keep everyone safe, ample supplies of PPE, our progressive policies and procedures, our continued staff trainings, as well as our large number of indoor/outdoor spaces, we have been supporting these types activities way before most other organizations. These activities include essential, outdoor, and indoor visits, small group dining, and small activity / group gatherings to name a few. The fact we have already instituted policies and procedures that allow for these activities continues to highlight how advanced Sterling Estates has been as we have strived to keep our residents and staff safe as well as social.

That said, as we have done throughout the pandemic, we are required to follow the guidance from our local health authorities at both the state and county level. Although the state of Georgia has not updated their policies yet, we are confident that they will do so soon. Meaning, we are still required to follow Governor Kemp’s latest Executive orders issued on February 26th renewing the state of emergency (currently expires 4/6/21) as well as the shelter in place order for LTC residents (currently expires 3/15/21) (orders can be found here and here). Once Governor Kemp’s guidance changes, we will follow up with those changes and how they impact our communities.

In summary, we are still in a place of status quo as we have been ahead in easing the restrictions the CDC and CMS addressed this week. As we are able to continue to relax additional policies, we will communicate those out to you as soon as possible…we hope and expect to be able to do so in the near future!

Sterling Estates Plan for “Expanding Our Ring of Inoculation”:

When we attained direct provider status for the vaccine last summer, we did so to ensure that our residents and staff had access to the vaccine as early as possible. With that, we were the first senior living community in the state to fully vaccinate our residents and staff. Further, we still remain the only senior living community in the state that is a direct provider of the vaccine.

Once that mission was completed, we went to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) with a plan to continue to offer vaccine to those who need it most. We called this plan our “Expanding Ring of Inoculation” where we wanted to make sure that the loved ones and caretakers of our residents had early access to the vaccine as well. We did this with the hope that this early vaccination effort would lead to a return to “normal” sooner for those we serve in our communities.

In seeing the latest guidance from the CDC and CMS we feel confident that this plan is coming to fruition and will allow our residents and their loved ones/care takers to enjoy the eased restrictions (once they become official) that much earlier.

As of today, we have delivered over 2,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine placing us in the top 7% of the over 1,500 providers in the state of Georgia. We know we still have role to play in trying to end this pandemic as quickly as possible, and we look forward to continuing to do so.

“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind” – C.S. Lewis

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #61 | Dated: 2-22-21

Good Afternoon –

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well.

After the snow and bad weather over the past few weeks, we noticed that we would enjoy some unseasonably warm weather this Wednesday and Thursday.

With that, we like to offer an opportunity to come to our community for a Safe and Social outdoor visit with your loved one.

If you are interested in scheduling time to visit with your family member, enjoy our wonderful courtyards and the beautiful weather during or first ever “Sip and See”, please reach out directly to our community to set up a time to visit. Timeslots will be offered from 1pm – 5pm.

We are excited to announce that this will also serve as an official kickoff to our return to our family visitations, whether outside or inside.

We are able to restart these visitations due to the fact that the Cobb County positivity rates have now dropped below 10%. This decrease in positivity rates places us in Tier 2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) reopening guidance which allows for supported indoor visitations. These visits will be offered starting Monday, March 1st and can be scheduled by calling our concierge at 678-946-4454. As the weather permits, outside visits are still the preferred option and we will know day of if we are able to meet outdoors.

Like before, visits will be scheduled from 10am – 4pm. Nearly all visitations will be during these hours unless prearranged in coordination with our management team. If circumstances change, obviously visitation guidelines in specific areas may change quickly as well. Please reach out to the community directly if you have any additional questions or concerns.

As a reminder, a brief summary of our indoor visitation procedures can be found below:

  • We will offer limited visitation timeslots separated by at least 15-minute cleaning buffers
  • There will be a limited number of visitors allowed in the room as dictated by square footage
  • All visitors who intend to have an indoor visit are recommended to obtain a regular COVID test
  • We also recommend that any regular visitors have been fully vaccinated (full vaccination means you received your 2nd dose of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccine at least 2 weeks ago but no more than 3 months)
  • All visitors will be screened prior to entering the building and will be required to wear a mask at all times. Due to the fact masks must be worn at all times, there will be no eating/drinking during these indoor visits.

We are heartened by the fact that county, state and national levels of the pandemic are improving, and we remain hopeful that we will see this trend continue.

We look forward to seeing you at our community soon.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #60 | Dated: 1-13-21

Good Afternoon –

As we approach the midway point of the month, we wanted to send along a few updates regarding: the current status of the pandemic, our policies and procedures and our efforts regarding the vaccine.

Update on Policies and Procedures:

As many of you know from watching the news and following the current status of the pandemic both locally and nationally, we continue to set daily/weekly records for new cases and hospitalizations. As dictated by the Department of Public Health (DPH) in their administrative order, found here, we continue to follow the DPH’s most conservative pandemic response policies/procedures.

With that in mind, and in concert with the above guidance, we will be extending the suspension of all nonessential visits for our Assisted Living residents through January 31st.

For Our Assisted Living Care Residents:

  • We will continue small group activities and small group dining (as many of these activities can be done while wearing masks and our operating procedures during those activities have proven to be effective thus far).

For Our Cottage Residents:

  • Small group dining will continue to be suspended through January 31st. We will continue to offer small group activities to only include activities that are 10 people or less and allow for universal mask wearing.
  • We know you’d like to resume communal dining. That said, we are working with the DPH to develop policies and procedures tied to communities who have received their 2nd dose of the COVID vaccine. As one of the first communities reaching this milestone, we are at the leading edge of this effort…as we make progress in defining these new policies and procedures, we will update you.

Latest Guidance from the State:

  • Governor Kemp has again extended the Executive Orders which were in place earlier:
    • Executive Order: 12.30.20.01
      • This extends the state of emergency in Georgia through February 7th, 2021.
    • Executive Order: 12.30.20.02
      • This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through January 15th.
      • Sheltering in place means our residents should only prioritize essential/medical trips per the governor’s orders.
    • We fully expect both of these orders to be extended in the coming days/weeks.

Moderna, 2nd Dose Booster Clinics:

We are happy to report that we received our 2nd dose, booster supply of the Moderna vaccine at each of our communities earlier this week. We have again partnered with Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy to help administer these booster vaccinations.

  • For those of you who received your 1st dose of the vaccine on December 24th or December 28th your booster clinic is scheduled for Monday, January 25th beginning at 8:30am.
  • For those of you who received your 1st dose of the vaccine on January 7th or January 13th we have tentatively set the date for your booster clinic on February 10th. We will confirm this date as we get closer to the end of the month.

For additional context on the dosing schedule for the Moderna vaccine (at least 28 days after the first dose) you can visit the CDC website here.

Testing Update:

We are also pleased to announce that we have recently received a shipment of rapid, antigen COVID tests through our partnership with McKesson. These tests offer our residents and/or staff the opportunity to receive a test in specific emergency situations where our regular testing channels aren’t readily available. 

If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #59 | Dated: 1-6-21

Good Afternoon -

We are pleased and excited to announce that we have received an additional order of the Moderna vaccine. Our team has reached out to any of our residents (or their loved ones as applicable) and any staff members who have yet to receive the first dose of the vaccine to ensure all who desire to participate in our immunization clinics have the opportunity to do so.

We are planning on hosting our immunization clinic for residents, staff and some of our 3rd party healthcare partners tomorrow.

If you should have any questions or concerns regarding our immunization clinics or our current policies or procedures, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #58 | Dated: 12-30-20

Good Afternoon –

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well after a very unique Christmas. We wanted to again thank you for participating in our immunization clinic on Christmas Eve. Those who did receive the vaccine were some of the first seniors and long-term care employees in the state to receive the vaccine. It was a resounding success, with no serious adverse reactions reported by any of our residents or staff…just a few sore arms. We are proud that we were able to inoculate all assisted living and memory care residents and staff who opted in for this first round of immunizations.

We expect to receive additional vaccine shipments in the coming days/weeks. With these additional doses we will be able to continue to offer the vaccine for any additional and/or new residents and staff members who choose to participate in the program. Again, we strongly encourage all residents, staff and other health care professionals who partner with Sterling to participate in our immunization clinics.

Now we have started our immunization program what does that meant for Sterling Estates:

A large majority of our residents and staff have now received the 1st of 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is 95% effective in preventing the coronavirus disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus after the 2nd dose. The 2nd dose must be administered 28 days after the 1st dose, which will be January 21, 2021 for the majority of our residents and staff. We are working with both Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy to schedule these 2nd dose clinics and will communicate a plan early in the new year.

Although having most of our residents and staff immunized protects them from becoming seriously ill, it doesn’t stop the transmission of the virus itself (meaning, you can give it to someone else who doesn’t have his/her immunization). As we await more people both in Sterling and in the surrounding area to get their immunization shots, we will continue to follow our policies and procedures that have been in place throughout the pandemic:

  • universal mask wearing
  • 6 feet of separation
  • small group activities
  • regular deep cleanings
  • no nonessential visitors (at this time)
  • regular staff testing
  • contact tracing with known COVID positive individuals, etc.

We are currently working with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to define criteria for what our procedures will look like in future once the rate of immunization increases and a timeline for when those policies/procedures will change. We will update you in the coming weeks as those plans are developed.

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

 The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #57 | Dated: 12-23-20

We are excited to share that our first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at all 3 of our communities today making Sterling Estates the first senior living community to administer the vaccine in the state.

We have contracted with Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy to help administer the first vaccinations starting tomorrow.

Through those partnerships we will have physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and a litany of other support staff on hand to support in administering the vaccine safely to our residents and staff.

Our team has started to reach out to our residents, resident loved ones and staff to review consent forms as well as answer any questions regarding the vaccine or our plan for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a large step for our communities, residents, staff and a testament to our strong partnerships that we will be at the leading edge of providing this life saving service to those who need it most.

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #56 | Dated: 12-18-20

This weekend we were officially notified that our 2 communities in Cobb County (both Sterling Estates of East and West Cobb) and our community in Fayette County (Azalea Estates) have been approved to be Tier 1a (the highest priority) vaccine providers out of the 5 total tiers.

Below is a quick summary of the two paths we have taken to ensure that our residents and staff have the earliest possible access to the vaccine:

  • National Pharmacy Network Long Term Care Partnership:
    1. CVS and Walgreens have partnered with the Federal government to ensure that all LTC communities have access to the vaccine through onsite clinics. We have applied for and been accepted to this program. Almost all LTC communities in the state are participating in this program.
  • Getting Approval to be a Vaccine Provider Ourselves:
    1. We worked with both the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to be certified as a provider ourselves (just like CVS and Walgreens). We completed a rigorous application process, trainings, many weeks of conference calls, etc. to get added to the short list of Tier 1a providers.

Having both options available to us will allow us to ensure that you are offered the vaccine as early as possible.

What this means moving forward:

  • Our approval as a provider in the highest priority tier will allow our communities to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine directly from the manufacturers in the coming days/weeks.
  • Pfizer has been granted their emergency use authorization with early shipments of the vaccine starting this past week and initial vaccines administered in the past few days. We expect Moderna to be approved later this week and to follow a similar timeline as Pfizer with vaccines being shipped in the coming days.
  • If for some reason CVS is able to obtain access to the vaccine before us and has enough to schedule onsite clinics at our communities, we will vaccinate our residents and staff through their team.

The decision by the DPH to accept Sterling Estates as a provider underscores how important it is for our residents and staff to have early access to the vaccine, as well as acknowledges how prepared our team at Sterling Estates is to be able to provide this service to our residents. We are proud of our onsite teams which have allowed us to be in this position and look forward to the opportunity of offering you this service as quickly and safely as possible. As a reminder there will be limited supplies early on, but that will be improving over the coming weeks.

We know that there are many questions regarding these new vaccines, with that we have included a few resources below that will hopefully answer some of your questions. Our residents are part of the generation that have always led the way in vaccines: smallpox, polio, whooping cough… and with our inclusion as the highest priority group to gain access to this vaccine, they will again be leading the way with COVID. Over the coming days our team will be reaching out directly to residents, resident loved ones and our staff to confirm their desire to receive the vaccine once it is on site.

More information on each vaccine can be found here:

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #55 | Dated: 12-10-20

We wanted to follow up on our latest communication where we detailed our steps for safely operating this Holiday Season.

Update on Our Latest Incident:

  • Of our 45 staff members ALL staff have tested, and ALL staff have returned negative test results.
  • At this time, no other residents or staff members are expressing or exhibiting any COVID related symptoms.
  • We are working with the hospital and family of the resident who tested positive for the virus to have him/her discharged back to our community in the coming days.

Update on Policies and Procedures:

The virus continues to increase in both overall cases as well as the percent of tests that are coming back positive across the state. As of December 9th, Cobb County has met the criteria for returning to the most restrictive quarantine procedures as dictated by the Department of Public Health (DPH) in their administrative order found here

With that in mind, and in concert with the guidance that has been provided to us by the DPH, we will be extending the suspension of all nonessential visits for our Assisted Living residents now through December 31st.

We will continue small group activities and small group dining (as many of these activities can be done while wearing masks and our operating procedures during those activities have proven to be effective thus far).

For our Cottage Residents:

Small group dining will continue to be suspended through December 31st. We will continue to offer small group activities to only include activities that are 10 people or less and allow for universal mask wearing.

Latest Guidance from the State:

  • Governor Kemp has again extended the Executive Orders which were in place earlier:
    • Executive Order: 11.30.20.01
      • This extends the state of emergency in Georgia through January 8th, 2021.
    • Executive Order: 12.08.20.01
      • This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through December 31st.
        • Sheltering in place means our residents should only prioritize essential/medical trips per the governor’s orders.

Latest on The Vaccine:

Our hope is that we will not have to continue these types of changes to our policies and procedures for much longer, especially in light of the fact that we are now only days/weeks away from the first vaccines reaching Georgia. The FDA is expected to vote on approval for the Pfizer vaccine today. Once that approval is made official, we will obtain more solid timelines for when to expect the vaccine in Georgia. As of now we are expecting shipments to start arriving in the coming week with hopeful onsite vaccinations starting by the end of December. All of this can change, and we will be sure to follow up once we receive more information.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #54 | Dated: 12-1-20

Good Afternoon Residents, Family Members and Staff Members –

We have good news to share based on our latest testing update:

  • We are happy to report that ALL 64 assisted living residents have all returned NEGATIVE test results.
  • Of our 23 cottage residents:
    • 20 residents were tested earlier this week
    • 17 residents came back with NEGATIVE test results
    • 3 tests were unable to be processed and those residents will be retested this week.
  • Of our 45 staff members:
    • 36 staff members returned NEGATIVE test results this week
    • 8 staff members have yet to be tested or get their results back. All will have their results by the end of the week
    • 1 staff member is on maternity leave and has not worked for the past few weeks

 We also wanted to let you know that we are in regular contact with the family of the resident who tested positive last week. He/She remains hospitalized. As we get more updates, we will be sure to pass those along.

Assisted Living Procedures Based on Latest Test Results:

Based on these latest results, we wanted to update you on a few changes we will be making to our policies and procedures.

  • We will be restarting limited small group activities tomorrow, December 2nd, and our activities team will be reaching out to our residents with updated schedules.
    • As you leave your apartments to get some fresh (be it cold) air, stretch your legs and see friends and neighbors that you haven’t been able to see over the past week, please remember to wear your mask properly (at all times), keep 6 feet of separation and wash your hands frequently.
  • We will be restarting small group dining for assisted living residents this Friday, December 4th.

Continuing to Suspend Nonessential Visits:

Based on the overall increase of the virus in Cobb County, the Thanksgiving Holiday this past week where many people gathered to celebrate, and the fact that the weather is forcing so many of us indoors, we will continue to suspend all nonessential visits for our Assisted Living residents through December 14th. We know that suspending nonessential visitations is going to be very difficult for both our residents and loved ones. Our hope is that this will be a short-lived change. Please reach out to us directly to talk through coordinating virtual visits through FaceTime calls, Zooms, etc.

Update for Cottage Residents:

For our cottage residents, small group dining will continue to be suspended through December 14th. We implore each of you to only leave the campus for essential services. We have scaled back our activity calendar to only include activities that are 10 people or less and allow for universal mask wearing. We will continue to evaluate our programming over the coming weeks and make appropriate changes to our offerings as the situation on the ground dictates.

As we get into December, we will revisit the changes outlined above with the hope that we can restart visits and add additional activities prior to the Christmas holiday.

Update on Our Efforts Regarding the COVID Vaccine:

As many of you know, we are not far off from the first approval of an effective and safe COVID vaccine and now is the time to redouble our efforts and rededicate ourselves to staying safe and following the guidance from both the DPH and CDC.

Below you will find a quick update on our progress in ensuring that our residents and staff members have early access to a COVID vaccine once it becomes available. We are one of the few senior living communities in the state to be a part of the closed Point of Distribution program through the DPH and CDC. As part of this group, we had our first, of what will be, weekly planning calls last week. There is still much unknown regarding when and how the vaccine will be made available, but we expect to find out more as the Federal government approaches their December 10th meeting where they will make a decision on the emergency use application from Pfizer. The 2nd vaccine from Moderna applied for their emergency use application yesterday morning. which would put their timeline between 1 and 2 weeks behind that of Pfizer’s. As we get more information about the vaccines, their distribution processes and clearer timelines, we will let you know.

Update on Executive Orders:

Yesterday, Governor Kemp again extended his two Executive Orders tied to Georgia’s response to the pandemic.

  • The state of emergency declaration in the state of Georgia has been extended through January 8th, 2021.
  • The Executive Order which details the steps the state is taking to empower a healthy Georgia; states residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) should shelter in place has been extended through December 15th.

Although we know that this has been an incredibly challenging week, we are encouraged that at this point no other residents or staff members have returned positive tests and no residents or staff members are expressing or exhibiting any COVID related symptoms. We remain hopeful that this trend continues and remain confident in our policies, procedures and use of PPE. These latest test results only serve to continue to underscore their effectiveness.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out:

 

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #53 | Dated: 11-27-20

Good Evening Residents, Family Members and Staff Members –

We are pleased to report that we just received word that a majority of the tests that were conducted this past Tuesday have been processed and ALL have come back with NEGATIVE results thus far. The lab was able to process 98 of the 116 tests we delivered to them on Tuesday late afternoon. We are waiting for the results of the final 18 tests to be processed in the coming days.

As soon as we get the remainder of the results, we will be sure to communicate those out to you. Out of an abundance of caution, we are going to continue our current quarantine procedures (no small group activities, visitations or small group dining) and we are hopeful that the trend of good results continues, and we can resume our prior activities and events.

This is encouraging news and we wanted to be sure to share it out with you as soon as we received it.

In the meantime, please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

 The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #52 | Dated: 11-25-20

Good Afternoon Residents, Family Members and Staff Members –

We wanted to follow up yesterday’s communication regarding a resident testing positive for the virus late last week. This resident remains hospitalized and in stable condition.

At this time, no other residents or staff members are expressing or exhibiting any COVID related symptoms.

Through our partnership with Transitional Care Partners of America (TCPA) we were able to test 100% of our Assisted Living residents, 21 of our 23 Cottage residents and over 25 of our staff members. Our remaining staff members will be tested through the Department of Public Health by the end of the week. Our hope is that we get the results of the TCPA tests by the end of the week.

Again, thank you to everyone for pulling together in the past 24 hours…conducting this universal testing on such short notice was a herculean effort for everyone involved and will go a long way in our efforts to keep our residents and community safe.

Be it through our special menu tomorrow or through using our dining ware for in unit dining, we hope to make tomorrow feel as “normal” and “homey” as possible, given the circumstances. We also know that many of you are making sacrifices during this pandemic Holiday season. If there is anything that we can do to support you and your loved ones connecting remotely (FaceTimes, Zooms, etc.) please do let us know.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out:

 

Thank you again and have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving,

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #51 | Dated: 11-24-20

Late yesterday afternoon we were informed that one of our residents tested positive for the virus.

This resident was sent out to the hospital yesterday due to a fall. After testing negative for the virus this past Friday, the hospital retested this resident and ended up returning a positive test result. We have been in touch with this resident’s family and he remains hospitalized and in stable condition.

Up to this point in our contact tracing investigation, one resident and one staff member meet primary contact. This resident and staff member will self-isolate for 14 days. At this point in time, no other residents or staff members exhibit or express any COVID related symptoms.

Based on these circumstances, we are following our testing protocol which includes universal testing for our residents and staff through Transitional Care Partners of America (TCPA). We will be administering tests today for all residents and staff with the hope of getting results by the end of the week.

At this time, we are suspending all small group dining, small group activities and outside visitations until we receive the results of our universal testing.  Starting last night, we are delivering all meals to residents’ apartments. Once we receive the results of the universal testing, we will revisit our plans for small group activities.

Based on our experience with the virus, we are confident in our policies and procedures and know that we will be able to get through this latest challenge together.

If you have any immediate questions or concerns about the testing scheduled or this latest incident, please do not hesitate to reach out to:

 Thank you again,

 The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #50 | Dated: 11-23-20

We wanted to reach out to let you know that we were recently informed that one of our residents has tested positive for the virus.

This resident was sent out to the hospital earlier today due to a fall. After testing negative for the virus earlier this weekend, the hospital retested this resident and ended up returning a positive test result.

We are currently conducting our contact tracing investigation. Up to this point of our investigation, one resident and one staff member meet primary contact. This resident and staff member will self-isolate for 14 days. At this point in time, no other residents or staff members exhibit or express any COVID related symptoms.

Per our testing protocol, when a resident tests positive for the virus without leaving the building in the weeks prior to their positive test, we are scheduling universal testing for our residents and staff through Transitional Care Partners of America (TCPA).

We are planning on administering the tests tomorrow afternoon with the hope that we get results by the end of the week.

At this time, we are suspending all small group dining, small group activities and outside visitations until we receive the results of our universal testing.  Starting this evening we will be delivering all meals to residents’ apartments. Once we receive the results of the universal testing, we will revisit our plans for small group activities with the hope that we will be able to restart many of those events.

Based on our experience with the virus we are confident in our policies and procedures and know that we will be able to get through this latest challenge together.

If you have any immediate questions or concerns about the testing scheduled or this latest incident, please do not hesitate to reach out to:

 

Thank you again,

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #49 | Dated: 11-20-20

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well. As we previewed in our earlier communication, we wanted to follow up on guidance for you and your families during this Holiday season, as well as update you on any changes to our policies and procedures.

Since we last wrote to you, much has happened regarding the pandemic including some encouraging news. Due to the change in weather with more people congregating indoors, as well as the fact that more people are getting together during this season and that “COVID fatigue” has caused many to lower their level of vigilance the pandemic has continued to increase its impact across the country.

That said, there have been incredible breakthroughs with at least 2 vaccines reaching final evaluation status with the hope that they will be approved soon.  Our communities have signed up to receive the vaccination services offered by the CDC in conjunction with CVS and Walgreens and we have also applied to be a point of distribution through the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). You can rest assured knowing that we are doing all that we can to ensure that our residents and staff are first in line for when a vaccine is approved and ready to be distributed. We will continue to keep you updated as we know more.

Assisted Living Holiday Guidance:

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the DPH have issued guidance recommending against residents in long term care facilities leaving their communities to participate in family gatherings this holiday season. They make this recommendation knowing that some individuals will still deem these family gatherings as essential. And we understand that. Most of our residents are choosing to heed the advice to stay at Sterling and not go out for family holiday celebrations. That said, we do have a few residents who will be leaving and visiting family. Those residents will be asked to self-isolate and not participate in small group dining for 14 days once they return to Sterling. However, the goal is for all residents to continue to participate in other small group activities depending on each resident’s circumstances. For those of you who are planning holiday get togethers, please find guidance from the CDC on how to conduct these activities as safely as possible here and here.

Cottage Residents:

Our activities team surveyed most of you over the past few weeks to determine your plans for Thanksgiving. Based on that survey it looks as if a majority of you will be planning on being with family during the Holiday. Based on that, and out of an abundance of caution, we will be suspending small group dining from November 27th through December 11th. During those weeks, you can pick up your meals at the front entrance. We will continue to offer small group activities where masks are able to be worn and the size of the group meets all DPH and CDC guidance. The activities team will reach out with the updated schedule soon.

As we have mentioned before, traversing our path through the pandemic has been a delicate balance between our efforts to keep the virus out of our communities while maintaining the health and wellness of our residents and staff. The policies and changes outlined above are our latest attempt to do just that. We are hopeful that a safe and effective vaccine will be made available soon. As we start to focus on the expected “end” to this pandemic, we all need to take extra precautions now which are essential to protecting everyone in our community until then.

We wish you a happy holiday season!

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #48 | Dated: 10-16-20

We hope this update finds both you and your loved ones doing well. As promised, we want to update you on our plans to help keep our residents “Safe and Social” during the coming Holiday Season and winter months.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been balancing our efforts to keep the virus out of our communities while maintaining the health and wellness of our residents and staff which of course goes way beyond just sheltering in place. Below you will find an update on our latest plans and procedures as well as guidance from both the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Kemp.

Holiday Plans:

Our teams, partnering across all of our communities, have been working tirelessly to ensure that we are able to continue to make this holiday season special in the midst of our “new normal”. With that, we recognize how important spending time with one another is during this holiday season. That is why we pushed to find creative and proven safe ways to continue our in-person family visits indoors. The details on the equipment we have purchased and the policies tied to indoor visits can be found below.

Along with continued visitations, our calendars are full of opportunities to celebrate the season as a community and in safe, socially engaging ways. Our plans include: local choirs performing outdoor concerts; residents caroling throughout our neighborhood settings; resident-led service projects have already started to support local organizations; we’re organizing traditional family Holiday celebrations based on residents’ traditions; and more to come.

With that, please check out our Facebook page to learn more about our vibrant, safe and social community.

As you start your holiday planning please continue to keep in mind what you and your loved ones can do to minimize your risk and the risk posed to your loved ones and neighbors. As a resource holiday planning guidance from the CDC can be found here. We are also here for you if you should want to talk through any of your holiday planning.

Update to Policies and Procedures:

  • Visitation: We will continue scheduled in person visits for residents and loved ones in specially designed, large annex rooms as the weather cools. These rooms are specially equipped with top of the line air filtrations and surface cleaning technologies. That said, as the weather permits, outside visits are still the preferred option for visits as we have deployed heaters and additional seating to support these visits.
    • We will offer limited visitation timeslots separated by at least 15-minute cleaning buffers
    • There will be a limited number of visitors allowed in the room as dictated by square footage
    • All visitors who intend to have an indoor visit are recommended to obtain a regular COVID test
    • All visitors will be screened prior to entering the building and will be required to wear a mask at all times. Due to the fact masks must be worn at all times, there will be no eating/drinking during these indoor visits.
  • Based on this new guidance, beginning November 2nd, Sterling Estates of East Cobb will start scheduling indoor visitations from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nearly all visitation will be during these hours unless prearranged in coordination with our management team. If circumstances change, obviously visitation guidelines in specific areas may change quickly as well. Please reach out to the community directly regarding how to best schedule these visits.
  • Activities: Our large indoor spaces afford us the ability to spread out and continue to safely conduct and participate in small group exercise classes, dining and engaging group activities throughout each of the DPH phases of reopening. More detailed plans tied to the DPH phased reopening schedule can be found here.
  • Preparation for the flu season: Our staff and many residents are getting their flu shots through one of our preferred providers. Getting your flu shot this year is more important than ever! If you aren’t participating in our flu shot program please be sure to go out and get your shot as soon as possible to protect yourself, your family and your community.

Latest Guidance from the State:

  • The DPH issued additional guidance for long-term communities (LTC) that outlines a phased approach for how to responsibly ease and strengthen restrictions for long-term communities. We have been working directly with the DPH and their teams of experts on this guidance for months now and much of what has been now communicated to all communities in the state has already been implemented at Sterling. This administrative order can be found here.
  • Governor Kemp has again extended the Executive Order which details the steps the state is taking to empower a healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19. This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through October 31st. We fully expect that this order will continue to be renewed as long as there is still widespread infection of the virus in our state.
    • Sheltering in place means our residents should only prioritize essential/medical trips per the governor’s orders. 

We are excited for this next phase of responsibly defining our “new normal” and look forward to a wonderful holiday season.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #47 | Dated: 9-17-20

We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well. With Fall upon us and Winter just around the corner, we wanted to update you on our planning and preparation for the change of seasons and all that follows.  

First, we couldn’t be more thankful that over the past 6 months we have been able to limit the impact the pandemic has had on our community through our policies, procedures, programming and use of PPE. We are proud of our staff as they continue to remain vigilant while in the community supporting our residents and while away from work with their own loved ones. Our team members remain committed to regular testing in line with the CDC, state and federal guidance. All of this to ensure we do all we can to keep our residents safe…and social!

We are happy to report that, at this time, we do not have any COVID positive residents or staff members with no one exhibiting or displaying any signs or symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

With these changes of seasons comes the Flu season and maybe a “second wave” of the coronavirus. As such, we are in the midst of reviewing our current policies and procedures both internally and with our contacts at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). Our goal is to make sure that our communities are prepared to react to any complications that the seasonal flu may present or changes in COVID-19, all while maintaining the engagement activities, family visits and other socialization activities that our residents and their families rely on. This remains a priority for us as we know that these activities, especially family visits, are essential to our residents’ health and wellbeing. As we move towards finalizing our plans, we will share these updates with you.

That said, we continue to have ample supplies of PPE and have been able to setup additional supply chains to supplement our current PPE supplies. Just this month we purchased an additional 10,000 KN-95 masks and 20,000 surgical masks to go along with the supplies that we’ve already deployed.

Update on Executive Order:

Earlier this week, Governor Kemp again extended the Executive Order which details the steps the state is taking to empower a healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19. This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through September 30th. This executive order also introduced additional guidance from the DPH which details steps for how and when LTC facilities can ease policies and guidelines tied to the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in each of our individual communities and larger counties. We will be including new phases of reopening in our updated policies tied to the change in seasons. 

As we were able to define our “new normal” this past Spring and Summer, we are confident that with your support and the partnerships that we have developed with our local experts, we will again be able to define our “new normal” this Fall and Winter whilst ensuring our residents remain both Safe and Social.

We will be back in touch regarding our updated policies and procedures soon. Thank you again and please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Independent Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #46 | Dated: 8-25-20

Good Afternoon –

We were excited to have our independent residents back for small group dining today. We based the decision to restart small group dining on the fact we received additional negative tests results and that it was determined that no other independent residents met primary contact guidelines.

We are also happy to report that the resident who did test positive continues to remain asymptomatic while hospitalized for a separate health issue and his/her significant other has tested negative and remains asymptomatic as well. This couple will continue to self-isolate for the remainder of the 10-day illness period and 14-day incubation period.

Thank you again for your patience and flexibility as we reacted to this latest incident. As we all know, this will not be the last time that we have to change our plans/procedures due to the pandemic, but our hope is that those occurrences are few and far between.

Please review the latest independent event schedule as we have a lot going on during these late summer weeks.

Thank you again and please let us know if there is anything else you need or if you have any other questions or concerns.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Independent Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #45 | Dated: 8-20-20

Good Morning –

We were informed this earlier today that one of our cottage residents has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after initial hospitalization on August 18th with a condition unrelated to the COVID-19 virus. This resident continues to be asymptomatic and is recovering from his/her other illness while remaining hospitalized.

Up to this point in our contact tracing investigation, we have only one resident (the wife/husband of the resident who tested positive) meeting primary contact criteria as this resident has not taken part in any small group activities, small group dining or Monday outdoor cocktail hours in over a month. The resident meeting primary contact guidance will self-isolate for 14 days from the positive test date.

Out of an abundance of caution and as we continue our contact tracing investigation, we will be discontinuing small group dining and returning to delivery/pickup only service for our cottage residents. Please just let us know which option you prefer.

We will also be suspending the Monday small group outdoor cocktail parties until further notice.

Once our investigation into this latest incident is complete, including obtaining additional testing results, we will follow up with additional details and an expected timeline as to when we will resume small group dining and outdoor cocktail parties.

Thank you again and please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #44 | Dated: 8-10-20

Good Afternoon –

We wanted to reach out to let you know that we were recently informed that one of our residents has tested positive for the virus.

This resident was tested on August 3rd after experiencing minor symptoms. We were notified of the positive test later Friday afternoon. This resident is

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